Island Boat Adventures ( Calypso Cat ) located in St. Petersburg, Fl provided us with the most outstanding adventure from start to finish. The first thing I have to say is we were super lucky not to choose one of the fast talking competitors. I'll explain why in a bit.
The Calypso Cat crew is a family owned business. Our captain and first mate of the day were father and son. Their team work was amazing. Not one bit of tension between them. They both knew exactly what to do to make every moment of our trip pleasant. Even when booking our trip, Betty (the mom) was super. She answered all my questions and never tried to close me the way one competitor did. She was polite and didn't rush me. The other company was more interested in getting my credit card number then answering my questions. That guy even went as far as to tell me he was the only boat going to the island equipped with a bathroom. Not true!
The Calypso Cat has a bathroom on board AND an awesome shower with fresh water. BTW, the water pressure from the shower was great. When booking our reservation, Betty told me to bring a lunch and any beverages we wanted. She said they would be happy to store my food and drink in their coolers. Families will find this to be a great benefit because you know how much money you save when you can bring your food and drink. My husband and I picked up subway sandwiches and bottled water. I'm sure they had some snacks to purchase and certainly had bottled water for a buck a piece (reasonable! Right)
When it came time for snorkeling, our captain knew exactly where to anchor. Our group had the best access to the ruins and we weren't stuck in a current. The equipment was clean, everyone was fitted perfectly and the equipment was in perfect working order. We had plenty of time to snorkel before we were taken to Egmont Key.
Our captain explained the behavior of dolphins. The dolphins are so smart that they know which boats to play around and which boats to stay away from. The dolphins liked the Calypso Cat because it had no history off harassing them. My take on the info is some boat captains try too hard to provide the customers with the opportunity to see the dolphins and chase them down. The dolphins don't want to be chased when they're working for food. Our captain must be honest because the dolphins did everything he said they would do. He said on the way out "the dolphins you see right now are feeding" and he explained how they were working together. He said on the way back after their bellies were full they would be more playful and they were. We even had one come right up to the side of our boat and swim with us.
On the island, I went hiking to the old fort. I met some scientist conduction water samples. The rangers were friendly and stopped to talk to us. While swimming I saw sea slugs... Cute and yucky and the same time. Someone found a huge conch shell with a living creature in it. Again, our captain located us in an ideal place to see all the island had to offer.
And now for a major unbelievable practice... The other boats had to use ladders like you would use at home to climb up and down to get to your roof. As I watched the other boat passengers try to maneuver themselves down that ladder, I realized we really did pick the best boat. Those people struggled to wrap their leg on the ladder and swing themselves to the proper position. I thought they had to be athletic. Our ladder on the Cat was normal. It was attached to the front of the boat. It drop straight down to the land. Easy peasy.
And finally, the captain on the Calypso Cat is really interested in providing a safe day. The Cat was not going out on the day we really wanted because of the weather. The other boats did. The only reason we weren't on those other boats was because they already left before we decided we wanted to go snorkeling. We know it was risky for those boats on the water because we watched the lightening and storms from Desoto park. It would have been very difficult for them to get around the storms we could see from land. The day we went out actually had a 60% chance of rain. It was crazy because the day before was only 30%. Yet the Calypso Cat captain was able to read the radar like a professional. It rained that day... Just not on us or anywhere near us but I have pictures of the storms away from us.
It was pure luck we got on the Calypso Cat, but I think there was a little devine intervention involved. I hope this review helps you because you might not be so lucky if you pick on your own.
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